Home / News / House turnover in districts 36, 79, 83, 88, 99, 105, 107, 110, 116

House turnover in districts 36, 79, 83, 88, 99, 105, 107, 110, 116


This marks the third and final round of endorsements from the Tribune Editorial Board in the contentious primary elections for the Illinois House.

District 36

This district covers a small portion of Chicago’s Southwest Side and extends westward into suburbs such as Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, and Palos Hills. Democratic Rep. Kelly Burke, who has represented the district since 2011, is retiring. Democrats attorney Rick Ryan and Markham city manager Sonia Anne Khalil are vying to replace him.

Ryan has practiced personal injury law in Oak Lawn for nearly three decades but has become involved in local politics and helped Burke in his first race for the seat. The honorable Burke approved it. He told us he’s a moderate Democrat who focuses primarily on safe neighborhoods where people can raise a family and where their children can return when they’re older. He describes the region as a “status quo zone” where people want things to stay the way they are. He says voters are concerned about public safety and are skeptical of the Safe-T Act.

Ryan supports potentially reintroducing cash bail, but on the other hand, he does not support jailing defendants accused of nonviolent crimes who do not have lengthy criminal records.

Halil, 34, says access to healthcare is the most pressing issue facing the region. He supports the Safe-T Act and generally holds positions slightly further to the left than many voters in this district.

She describes herself as a “lifelong” supporter of women’s right to choose abortion, and says Ryan can’t say that. Ryan says he ran for State Senate in 2000 as a pro-life candidate. “Most of the women in my life told me I was wrong,” he says, and says he has been staunchly pro-life ever since.

The Khalil campaign also pointed to a nearly decade-long period in which Ryan failed to pay all the federal taxes he owed. He says he was battling cancer at the time (Halil is also a cancer survivor) and chose to keep his legal staff employed even though he wasn’t earning much income as a solo practitioner. He says he has since paid off his debt and no one has objected.

It’s clear that Ryan has made some mistakes, but we think his views are more in line with his district.

Rick Ryan confirmed.

District 79

Kankakee is the focal point of this region, which extends beyond the city into surrounding areas. Four Democrats are running to challenge incumbent GOP Rep. Jackie Haas, who is unopposed in the primary.

They are Kankakee County board member Robert Ellington-Snipes; retired Kankakee Schools Superintendent Genevra Walters; William “Billy” Morgan, Monee Township trustee and press officer for former Gov. Pat Quinn; and Dylan Mill, a machine operator at AHF’s hardwood flooring facility in Kankakee.

Ellington-Snipes, 63, has the most political experience of the four, having served on the Kankakee County board for more than 20 years. Walters, 55, has been the school’s principal for a decade. Morgan, 33, studies at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and worked in Gov. Pat Quinn’s administration. Mill is 23 and describes himself as “young and ambitious” and indifferent to political party labels.

Ellington-Snipes, director of crisis counseling for Kankakee schools, says education is the district’s most pressing issue and calls for more investment. Walters also focuses on education; this is not surprising given his experience running local schools. He says the teacher shortage is a pressing issue. Morgan, who has the endorsement of the Illinois Federation of Teachers and Planned Parenthood, is pushing for property tax relief and child tax credits in the state. Mill believes that education and economic development are the most important issues facing the region.

Democratic voters have many candidates with impressive credentials to choose from. All in all, we mostly like Morgan’s focus on kitchen table matters.

Billy Morgan has our approval.

District 83

This Kane County area includes parts of Batavia, Geneva, Aurora and Oswego. Democratic Rep. Matt Hanson is in his first term and is running against Arad Boxenbaum, who is running against Hanson in 2022.

Both candidates are intelligent and largely agree on most issues. Boxenbaum, 24, who sits on the Geneva Public Library Board of Directors, said her top priority would be to hold a referendum before Illinois voters to include abortion rights in the Illinois Constitution. Hanson also sees this positively, noting that there is a legislative task force working on this possibility.

At a recent voter forum, we were impressed by Hanson’s nuanced response to a question about the Climate and Equal Jobs Act, landmark green energy legislation that takes effect in 2021 and calls for phasing out fossil fuels in energy production over the next two decades. He noted that there are deadlines in the law for reaching certain milestones that currently seem unlikely to be achieved; this was a practical problem that arose during the debates on this legislation (before Hanson was in the General Assembly). Boxenbaum emphasized at the forum that he would not accept donations from fossil fuel companies.

Hanson pleaded guilty to drunk driving late last year. Stating that he took full responsibility, he said that he would be evaluated on alcohol-related issues and would take any steps recommended in this process. Assuming it doesn’t happen again, we don’t think this should disqualify him from public service. We think Boxenbaum shows promise, but Matt Hanson also has our support.

District 88

This upstate area includes parts of Bloomington-Normal and extends south to Decatur. GOP Rep. Dan Caulkins is not running for re-election. The Republican primary will be between Regan Deering, businesswoman and granddaughter of former Archer Daniels Midland CEO Dwayne Andreas, and McLean County board member Chuck Erickson.

Caulkins, a member of the Illinois Freedom Caucus, endorsed Deering. Erickson has the support of former State Rep. Dan Brady, who is more moderate.

We think Erickson, who has pledged to “work with Democrats when he can and confront them when necessary,” is the right choice for Republican voters in this district.

Chuck Erickson confirmed.

District 99

Quincy is the focal point of this district, which covers a large area west of Springfield. Incumbent Republican Rep. Randy Frese is not running for re-election.

The GOP primary for a safe Republican seat includes Kyle Moore, the former mayor of Quincy, and Eric Snellgrove, who sits on the Cass County Board and lives in Beardstown. Moore has the endorsement of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police and is the clear favorite in this race. He stepped down as mayor of Quincy in 2021, keeping his promise to serve only two terms in the role.

Kyle Moore confirmed.

District 105

This densely rural area covers an area north of Bloomington and largely east of Peoria. First-term incumbent Dennis Tipsword Jr. is being challenged by State Farm IT employee Donald Ray Rients, who lost to Tipsword in the previous primary and twice ran unsuccessfully for Congress, losing to U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood.

Rients attacks Tipsword for supporting legislation that allows non-citizens to become police officers if they have a work permit and legally own a gun. Tipsword said he knew the vote would draw some criticism, but said it was the right thing to do to address the police officer shortage.

Tipsword expertly represents this region. Dennis Tipsword approved.

District 107

This ruby ​​red district south of Decatur includes Taylorville and Effingham and is represented by GOP Rep. Brad Halbrook. Halbrook, a member of the Illinois Freedom Caucus, is one of the more conservative members of the Illinois House. Her opponent is Marsha Webb, who has the endorsement of former GOP gubernatorial candidate Darren Bailey.

When Halbrook was first elected, he promised to limit himself to five terms. If he is re-elected, it will be his sixth term, so he has broken his promise. He supports repealing Illinois’ sanctuary state status. When asked if he thinks Joe Biden legitimately won the 2020 presidential election, he expresses that he is tired of the persistence of the question and does not answer directly, “The 2020 election is over. It’s time to act.” There’s a reason we’re still asking this question. Look no further than the presumptive GOP nominee for president.

We know little about Webb’s views, but we’re not fans of Bailey. We refuse to support this race.

District 110

Representing this southern Illinois district east of Belleville is GOP Rep. Blaine Wilhour. The first-term representative faces a challenge from Matthew Hall, a Fayette County Board member, chairman of the Fayette County Republicans and a corrections officer for three decades.

Wilhour, a member of Darren Bailey’s Chicago smear group, has earned the ire of the Illinois Education Association. The state teachers union backed Hall’s challenge, and Wilhour called on Hall to reject financial support for an organization he said had a “seditary agenda.” Hall says Wilhour is ineffective and actually represents a perspective that productive interaction with Democrats comes with the job.

“Sometimes you have to take a terrible bill and make it worse,” he told Vandalia Radio. “You can do that by being willing to work across the aisle and say, ‘Let’s do this and compromise.’ There’s nothing wrong with compromise.”


Matthew Hall has earned our support.

District 116

Four-term GOP Rep. Dave Severin represents this sprawling district north of Carbondale. Angela Evans, who is challenging him on the grounds that he is not conservative enough, describes herself on her campaign’s Facebook page as “pro-Trump, pro-life, and a lifelong NRA member.”

Severin was criticized several years ago for having the courage to vote for Rebuild Illinois, the state’s first major infrastructure bill in years, funded in part by higher gas taxes.

It’s an easy decision and Dave Severin is supported.


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